Author’s Note – Another church newsletter submission.
Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23 NIV)
Just before Christmas, I was listening to a podcast which mentioned a letter writing campaign sponsored by Amnesty International called Write for Rights; it’s part of an annual global outreach which seeks to affect change through the written word for those who are discriminated against and abused. At first I thought, “hey I love to write letters, I can do this” but as I signed up on the website, I began doubting myself. Why am I doing this? I’m not an activist, this isn’t my thing. What gives me the right to tell foreign leaders how to run their countries anyway? Why would they listen to me? Uncertainty plagued me as I put pen to paper, but something in me resisted the urge to stop, and I sent letters to El Salvador and Burkina Faso in support of women’s rights. I don’t know if they will make a difference, but writing them reminded me that there are no shortcuts to take when living a truly Christian life. To take up our cross means humbling ourselves before God by serving others. In that service, we acknowledge another’s suffering, and it might make us uncomfortable because it forces us to recognize our own prejudices and shortcomings, but that discomfort can help us grow as Christians. The path to salvation lies at the end of our comfort zones, when we realize that following God’s word is more than just memorizing scripture and going to church every Sunday. When we take the chance to lift up someone who is less fortunate even if we fear the consequences of doing so, when we are challenged to see people differently and try to help them, we send God’s light into the world.